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Since childhood I have approached the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation with some fear and uncertainty. Not unlike many other Catholics I wonder, “Am I doing it right? Have I remembered everything I ought to confess? How long has it been since my last confession?”
I ought to go more often, and not because of any legal prescription. In fact, like the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an opportunity to draw near to God.
This is the third article in a series about the spiritual life of catechists, inspired by the list of characteristics in the National Directory for Catechesis.
Catechists are called to a strong prayer life, having not only a habit of regular personal prayer but a living relationship with God. The Catechism describes prayer as God’s gift, a covenant relationship, and communion of life in Christ. Through it, we discover God, who dwells in each human heart (CCC 2558–2565). A catechist with a well-developed prayer life will naturally be a better teacher and leader of prayer, so it is very important to find and recruit people who give evidence of a life of prayer and to assist them to deepen it through regular formation.
Instructions: Invite a volunteer to read each of the Sunday readings for your group, and then reflect on them with the below thoughts and questions.
by Eric Gurash
At some point during the summer months, we all start to wonder what our formation programs will look like in the fall. Whether we have a lot of ideas or just a few suggestions from others, the struggle is trying to select what ought to be done out of the range of possibilities. Thankfully we are not left alone in our discernment. As James assures us, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” (James 1:5)
With this in mind, in planning a new faith formation year I begin by praying for freedom and openness to God’s will. More often than not the first questions on my mind are, “What do I want to do? What did I find challenging, difficult, or lacking last year?” Those questions are all about me. My initial prayer for freedom is an attempt to take myself out of the equation and re-focus on God’s will for the parish.
When my daughter was a freshman at a Catholic high school, she had to prepare a prayer for religion class but seemed to be having trouble getting started. As we talked about it, I realized that she felt she had to “compose” a prayer as though God could only be approached through formal language. But St. Ignatius taught that when we pray, it should “resemble one friend speaking to another”—and I told her this. She was able to move forward, knowing that God was approachable in this manner.
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